We should all do our best to be chivalrous

Exploring how chivalry manifests in 2021 

Walking the line between feminism and chivalry.

As a feminist, I’ve always wondered if chivalry exists anymore, and whether or not accepting and appreciating it conflicts with my moral compass. I believe that all working individuals—women, genderfluid, and non-binary individuals alike—should receive the same pay for the same job, but that shouldn’t mean that I can’t appreciate it when a man holds the door for me.

We live in a society that appreciates public displays of generosity and respect from men towards women. 

The practice of chivalry originated from the medieval times and references knightly behaviours, like bravery, loyalty and the protection and respect of women. These courtly displays are now an ingrained aspect of our dating process. 

But what does it really mean to be chivalrous today? 

According to a hilarious article, “20 Examples of Modern Chivalry You Need In Your Life,” when a man texts you during the day, turns off his phone when you’re together, and offers you thoughtful gifts, he’s a keeper.

The valorous standards of chivalry have clearly shifted—asking for a girl’s number instead of her snapchat on Tinder is our modern swash-buckling fight in defense of our honour. 

As feminists, if we value independence and respect from others, why would chivalry be a problem? 

Some women may find it obnoxious and patronizing. It’s the 21st century, I can open my own car door. And as women, we have all been in the position where a man holds the door for us, gives us a creepy smile, and the seemingly respectful action suddenly feels like he just wants to stare at your figure. 

Perhaps because I appreciate it more when attractive or non-threatening men are chivalrous towards me, I have become more aware that chivalry is very primal in nature. 

If a man picks up the tab at dinner, he’s really demonstrating that he can afford to provide for his date. When he holds her hand in traffic and defends her, he’s proving that he can be protective. 

This process reminds me of a peacock dance—the male birds fluff up their feathers, do a fancy dance, and squawk. Men push our chairs in and offer to pick us up, while we peahens simply put on our lucky cute bra and watch the scene unfold. A mating ritual.   

I have questioned whether it’s an unfair expectation that men should pay the bills on dates, carry the heavy bags, and hold the doors for everyone. 

The answer may be that we all need to be more laid back with our standards of chivalry. Women and non-gender conforming individuals can be chivalrous too. Men can be platonically chivalrous to other individuals.  If a man doesn’t open the car door for his date every time, no biggie. E-transfer me for half the meal, whatever. 

We’re all broke university kids fumbling our way through the complexities, beauties, and irritations of dating as young adults anyway, so we might as well all do our best to be chivalrous. 

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